The one constant about life is that it is always changing. This dynamic is particularly acute around the holidays. USAgainstAlzheimer’s recently asked people who live with this disease every day, here’s how to tackle this holiday and create new memories:
- Keep your expectations reasonable. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Holidays won’t ever be the way they used to be and every year will be different. But that doesn’t mean they have to be bad. Enjoy the great moments you can still have.
- If your loved ones are able to communicate, make sure you create a comfortable and nurturing environment for them to be able to share their needs. Ask them direct questions so they have an opportunity to tell you what is best for them.
- It’s important to have these conversations before the holidays so everyone is on the same page. Let family and guests know it’s okay for Dad to go upstairs and rest in the bedroom. Make sure you notice if he’s starting to look fatigued and bring him upstairs yourself.
- Denial is very common for someone facing Alzheimer’s. Help that person save face, talk to them in private about how they’d like to handle holiday festivities.
- It is normal for a person with Alzheimer’s not to cope well with crowds and noise. To make the person more comfortable, consider including gatherings with only three to four people at a time. Family gatherings can be overwhelming, causing frustration for the person with Alzheimer’s.
- Don’t be disappointed if your loved one with Alzheimer’s can’t be with you the entire day. Make arrangements for him to be able to rest in his room or return to his facility once he’s had enough.
- Don’t put up the blinking lights or as many decorations this year.
- Let your loved one sit at the end of the table instead of the middle so she can better see who she’s looking at and not have as much background noise.
- For those with grandchildren, try to make your home a happy place where they remember joy. Decorate the wheelchairs, get dressed up, play to the patient and make up new traditions.
- Sometimes those with Alzheimer’s are grieving because each holiday can feel like last they will remember. Take holidays as an opportunity to enjoy the time, to be in the moment.